Seek Clarity

In his new book, High Performance Habits, Brendon Burchard speaks about seeking clarity in Habit 1.  I shared this exercise with my Emerging Leader group yesterday.  I thought you might like to read this as well:

  1.  Describe (write it down) how you’ve perceived yourself in the following situations over the past several months – with your significant other, at work, with the kids or your team, in social situations with strangers.
  2. Now ask, “Is that who I really see myself being in the future?”  How would my future self look, feel, and behave differently in those situations? (note: think about how your future self would want to interact in ways that you would be proud of)
  3. If you could describe yourself in just 3 aspirational words – words that would sum up who you are at your best in the future – what would those words be?  Why are those words meaningful to you?  Once you find your words, put them in your phone as an alarm label that goes off several times per day.

I worked through this exercise myself.  I jotted down several things and finally landed on my 3 aspirational words.  I created a calendar event that displays these 3 words at 5:45 am, 1:00 pm and 9:00 pm every day.

Already, there are many times when I see those words and I am reminded to be my best and do my best to act out on these words.  It works.  What a great reminder.

Try it. In fact, order the book and start working your own high performance habits (link to the book is provided above). Begin working on becoming better.  You will not regret it.

high performance habit quote

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Thanking a Mentor

This week, a significant leader/mentor in my life will turn 80 years old.  At the recent Global Leadership Summit, we were challenged by Bill Hybels to reach out to those who helped mold our leadership skills and tell them “thank you”.  This morning, I wrote a letter to this leader.  Here is an excerpt from that letter:

leadership legacy

I just wanted to say “thank you” once again for all that you’ve done for me in my life.  I am often asked who was a major influencer.  Your name tops the list (after my parents).  Here’s why:

  • You taught me that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.
  • You taught me to be flexible. “There is always a way.”  I believed you, acted on it, and found your words to be true.
  • You taught me to think on my feet.
  • You taught me to be direct.
  • You taught me how to sell.
  • You taught me how to work a crowd.
  • You taught me how to produce.
  • You taught me how to get along with others who are vastly different than I am.
  • You allowed me to be me.
  • You pushed me to be excellent and then to become better.
  • You taught me how to speak in front of 10 and 10,000.
  • You allowed me to be creative and gave me room to do it.
  • You showed me that leaders can open up to confidants.
  • You taught me to set high standards and not to lower them.
  • You gave me the opportunity to be exposed to cultures all over the world.
  • You showed me how to celebrate the “wins” of your team. You always were delighted to hear our stories from the road.
  • You taught me that consistent discipline works.
  • You showed me that the leader’s dream can be infectious.
  • You taught me that I am capable of far more than I thought I was.
  • You introduced me to the world, and now I have friends all over the planet.
  • You believed in me. I can’t thank you enough for that.

So, who in your life could you “thank” for helping you? It really takes moments to craft a letter.  But you will encourage a mentor in ways you cannot imagine.

They invested in you.  Invest in them today.  Thank a Mentor.

Become More Valuable

A few days ago, I shared how to create a great customer experience.  Today, I want to use those same steps to show you how you can become more valuable – to add value – to your team and others in your company.

LISTEN

When a team member or colleague brings you an issue, problem, concern, question…take time to truly listen to what it is they are saying.  Don’t jump to a conclusion or give them a fast answer.  Listen carefully.

ASK

Ask great questions to get to the core issue.  Avoid asking yes/no questions or “why” questions.  Asking great questions will get you to their core issue the fastest.  It also demonstrates that you are actively listening to them.

FEEL

If the person in front of you is frustrated, angry, tense, etc., take the time to empathize with them.  Don’t merely sympathize (“oh, I’m sorry”).  Don’t make light of their situation (“today sucks to be you!”).  Feel what they are feeling and identify with that.

THINK

Once you have the core issue clarified, think.  What resources do you have that can help resolve your team member’s issue?  What resources do you know about that can help?  Who else can you call on for assistance?  Think.

ACT

Once you’ve listened carefully, asked great questions, empathized with the person, and really thought about the best way to help, then (AND ONLY THEN) act.  Far too often people jump into action too quickly.  Act with intention and purpose.

FOLLOW-UP

Following up a couple of days later says that you care about how the resolution is working or not working for the person you helped.  This can be a great learning opportunity for you.  It will create stronger relationships at work as you demonstrate your willingness and ability to invest in someone else.

Make your work interactions better.  Follow this process to add value to your team and your company.

Remember, when you get better, your company gets better.

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Flawed People

On my drive into work this morning, I heard the following:

“Flawed people can do great things.”

The speaker went on to share an example of King David from the Bible.  David was an incredible king.  He fought and won many battles.  He strengthened his kingdom.  He had passionate followers. Bible said that he was a “man after God’s own heart.”

But King David was also flawed.  Too often, he took matters into his own hands.  He had a wandering eye that led him to seduce a woman and then later had her husband killed in battle.  David suffered because of his flaws.  But he also did great things in spite of his flaws.

Today, I am grateful for grace that sees my flaws but still allows me to be effective.  I cannot ignore my flaws and shortcomings (there are many).  I must get better.  I must build on my strengths.  I cannot make excuses for my flaws.  But I must work to do great things.  My family is counting on me.  My team is counting on me.

I am not disqualified.  Neither are you.

flawed people

“But Enough About Me”

My boss just shared the following with our Lead Team.  It is worth your time to read this.  I’m not sure where he found this, but read it, let it sink in, and then let’s all do it. 

if you make listening

But Enough About Me…

I sat in on a solid coaching session with a regional manager and two area managers while traveling last week.

Okay, to be honest, I sat near the session and not “in it”.

The hotel I was staying in was under construction and the temporary dining area was not very large. 

I was given the one open table near three guys having dinner and talking shop.

Not having earplugs or a television close enough to focus on, their conversation became the soundtrack of my meal. Thankfully, the most senior guy in the group doled out some pretty good advice.

Beyond the nuts and bolts of their particular business (some type of manufacturing), there was a more general piece of advice he gave that had me smiling and trying to see the reactions from his mid-30-years old dinner mates.

He told them, “Don’t take this the wrong way, but I heard way too many complaints about First World problems in front of your teams today.”

As his dinner mates smiled sheepishly, he continued, “You guys are doing well. I know you work hard and believe me, I’m proud of our results. But your teams don’t need to hear about how much your kids’ private schools cost or how frustrated you are with the guys putting in your new pool.”

I will give him credit.

He made that point in a clear, yet non-scolding way.

As they joked around a bit about not wanting to sound like “that guy”, the senior manager put a nice ribbon on the subject.

He told them, “Look, sometimes the difference between the boss that you are inspired by and one that you resent is what he or she talks about most. If you are always talking about yourself, they see you as a ‘me first’ person.”

He continued, “If you are asking questions about their jobs, their families, their goals… they’ll walk through a wall for you because they know you are interested in their success…not just yours.”

I fought off the urge to lean over and high-five that senior manager.

Well, mostly because that would have been really weird.

Whether it is the employees working for you, the peers working with you or the customers you work for, how much of your conversations are centered on them?

Folks who focus their attention on others tend to attract more goodwill and success towards themselves.

Strive to be that person.

-Dave Martin

focus on others

Adding Value – Kindness & Consideration

Leaders seek to add value at every opportunity.  Some tend to think of this as primarily offering advice or come up with a solution.  I want to encourage you to look to add value by doing this:

Demonstrate Kindness & Consideration

We life in a harsh world.  Sometimes that harshness creeps into our team members’/coworkers’ lives when least expected.  Add value to them during these times by showing some kindness.

How do you do that?

  • Listen – not as a counselor, but as someone who cares.
  • Encourage – write a short note to say “thank you” to someone you noticed has been working hard and getting results
  • Praise – don’t underestimate your spoken praise for a team member. This simple action can carry them for many days (weeks?)
  • Share – share a resource that might be of help to someone you know is struggling (I had the privilege of doing just this today!).

What else could you do to add value to someone who truly needs it? Be creative.  Share addition ideas in the comments below.

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